Traditional media, digital platforms and social protests in post-Arab Spring Morocco

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This article is featured in the ORIENT I 2021

The Arab Spring protests in Morocco, which started on 20 February 2011, have left a significant impact on political configurations and practices as well as on political culture and civil society activism. Moroccan citizens have taken to the streets and squares and to the virtual spaces more often in the last ten years than ever before. This paper discusses the role that offline and online media played in different social protest events. It demonstrates how online media managed to create a public space for free political expression, which led to a series of mass protests, and how the state has clamped down on Internet freedom through the use of a variety of repressive mechanisms. The Moroccan experience proves that the role of digital media is ponderable rather than deterministic in promoting social activism.

Abdelmalek El Kadoussi is Assistant Professor of Media and Communication at Ibn Toufail University, Kenitra, Morocco. Over the last 15 years, he has conducted research on different layers of media scholarship, including but not confined to media and democratisation, media political economy and others. He has presented papers in national and international congresses and published in national and international journals.

Bouziane Zaid is Associate Professor of Global Communication at the University of Sharjah, UAE. His research interests are in the areas of media technologies, media law and policy, media advocacy and strategic communication. He has presented his research in more than 20 countries in North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Dr. Zaid has authored and co-authored two books and numerous journal articles, country reports and book chapters. He has served as a consultant for UNESCO, Open Society Foundation, Freedom House and other international organisations.

Mohammed Ibahrine is Associate Professor for Marketing Communications at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. His research interests cover technology and marketing, design thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation and the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.

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